Did you ever tell your mom you were bored? I remember doing that a few times during those long, humid summer days in southern Illinois. Her response was always: “Then find something to do.” And that was before Google and the Internet!
We probably don’t say we’re bored very often in our adult lives, do we? It’s much harder to be bored in this age of travel, entertainment, and instant connection. But do you ever hear yourself saying or thinking, “What am I supposed to be doing with my life?” No matter how young or old we are, that question comes up often.
Sometimes we have to break it down to a simpler question in order to tackle the answer: “What can I do to be productive today?”
If you want to avoid wandering, boredom, frustration, and their counterparts, here are a few suggestions. And I like to think my Mom would approve of each one.
Read an entire chapter of the Bible aloud. Maybe the chapter that contains one of your favorite verses or one your pastor referenced in this weekend’s message. Then personalize that chapter for yourself. Put yourself in the story that God is telling. Use your name and I. Be alert to what God wants to tell you.
Choose three friends ― one from your past, one from your present, one from your church family. Pray specifically for each one of them for 5 minutes each. Even if you don’t know where he/she is or what’s happening in his/her life right now.
Avoid time fillers and time wasters. You know what they are for you. For me, it’s watching reruns of old TV shows. Hawkeye’s observations of life or Gidget’s enthusiasm for the beach take me away from my reality. Instead of filling your time with mindless activities, make time for productive activities that benefit others ― and you.
Make something. A gift, a craft project, something for your home. Better yet, invite a friend to share that creative time with you. Some of the most fun (and frustrating) times my sister and I have shared are the times we’ve made quilts together. The mistakes don’t seem as serious and the shared knowledge makes the project easier when you work together.
Sing a song. I’m not a great singer, but I love to sing. And the car is one of the best sound studios ever! Play some of your favorite music and sing along.
Have a conversation with a child. Not just a smile or a hello. Borrow a child for an afternoon. Spend undistracted, focused time with him/her. Have a conversation. Listen to him/her. There’s a lot to learn. For both of you.
Say thank you to a person who won’t be expecting it. Maybe the girl who’s emptying the trash can at McDonald’s. Or the guy who’s collecting your yard waste and recycling. Or the woman who’s mopping the floor of the rest stop bathroom. Or the man who just told you that you need a new furnace.
Send a handwritten note to a friend. Instead of emailing or texting or calling, take time to express your thoughts by putting pen to paper. There’s something extra-special about seeing the handwriting of a person we love.
Let someone help you. I know. You’re independent and proud of it! But choose one thing that you need help with, that you can’t do alone. Then ask a friend to come over and help you. People want to be helpful, but they don’t always know how to do it.
What are some fruitful pursuits that you’ve discovered? Share them with us here. We all need to learn something new!